Perched high on a hill, Prague Castle is strategically placed and hard to miss. According to the castle’s website, it was likely founded in 880 and has been an important symbol of Czech nationality for over 1,000 years.
There are all sorts of strategies for visiting Prague Castle — Rick Steves provides a couple to avoid getting caught in the tourist throngs. We started early in the morning and walked from our hotel. It is mostly uphill, but you will get some beautiful views as you go.
We started with the famous and impressive St. Vitus Cathedral. Do not harbor any illusions that you will have this stunning gothic structure to yourself.
Next, we headed to the Old Royal Palace.
The palace offers a beautiful view of Prague.
Finally, we made our way to the Golden Lane, where defenders of the castle, servants, or important people lived. As you wander the multi-colored lane, you can pop into tiny houses (make sure to duck!) and read about the people who used to live here.
From 1916 to 1917, No. 22 was occupied by Franz Kafka.
No. 14 is called the “Little House of the Psychic Matylda Prusova.” The plaque on the door tells the sad tale of how she waited for her son to return from the front lines during the First World War. Every day, she set the table and prepared his bed, but he never returned.
After two and half hours at the castle, we left the castle grounds and continued south to Strahov Monastery. I desperately wanted to photograph the monastery’s elaborate library, but we forgot to check the monastery’s hours. Just our luck, we showed up just as the library closed for lunch.
Apparently, people need to eat.
Instead, I settled for some lovely photos of the outside buildings, and descended to Mala Strava with beautiful views in front of us and behind us.